Universal Pictures has made a deal for The Legend Of Conan, an action film that will star body builder turned actor turned governor turned actor again Arnold Schwarzenegger in the title role that made him famous and launched his movie career in 1982. It will be produced by Fredrik Malmberg, CEO of Paradox Entertainment, which owns the rights to Conan, and Chris Morgan, who is the Universal Studios writer and producer responsible for the last four Fast and Furious films, as well as Wanted and 47 Ronin. The trick, though, is that Universal wants this whole thing in the can and on the screen for summer of 2014. Considering that there’s no script yet, that doesn’t give them a lot of time to get the job done, since Morgan is also working on the seventh Fast and Furious film by then. This is something Morgan’s wanted to do for a very long time, and our recommendation is to hand off the F&F script to somebody else so he can give the Conan script his full attention.
Conan reboots have been wandering the plains of development desolation at Warner Brothers for years, almost going into production in 2010 – they were close enough that they were doing makeup tests before the whole thing was put back on the shelf. Makeup FX studio Prosthetic Renaissance was hired to do the test, and they came up with something that looked like it stepped right out of a Frank Frazetta painting. We think it would have been awesome, but acting in that outfit would have been another story.
Schwarzenegger starred in the original Conan film and a sequel before doing James Cameron’s Terminator.
“The original ended with Arnold on the throne as a seasoned warrior, and this is the take of the film we will make,” Malmberg said in this interview with Deadline. “It’s that Nordic Viking mythic guy who has played the role of king, warrior, soldier and mercenary, and who has bedded more women than anyone, nearing the last cycle of his life. He knows he’ll be going to Valhalla, and wants to go out with a good battle.”
“After the original seminal movie, all that came after looked silly to me,” Morgan said in the same article. “Robert E. Howard’s mythology and some great philosophy from Nietzsche to Atilla the Hun was layered in the original film. People say, he didn’t speak for the first 20 minutes of the film, but that was calculated in depicting this man who takes control of life with his own hand. This movie picks up Conan where Arnold is now in his life, and we will be able to use the fact that he has aged in this story. I love the property of Conan so much that I wouldn’t touch it unless we came up with something worthy. We think this is a worthy successor to the original film. Think of this as Conan’s Unforgiven.”
Malmberg’s passion for the material should ensure that at least some of his vision of what Conan as a character should be like, and he aims to be more true to the Robert E. Howard vision of Conan.
Good luck, fellas. Make us proud.
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